Archive pour le Tag 'Nautilus minerals'


CSR Times Electric has bought the British firm behind the building of the world’s first deepsea mining robot, it was announced yesterday, confirming China’s ambitions to mine metals on seabeds.

CSR Times Electric , based in Zhuzhou,  said it is paying HK$1.27bn (£107.3m) to buy Specialist Machine Developments (SMD) to boost its presence in China’s nascent industry building deep-sea robots.


SMD’s projects include a subsea vehicle it built for Canada’s Nautilus Minerals , aimed at helping the company to be the first to commercially mine gold and tin in deep water.

Equipped with cameras and 3D sonar sensors, the robot is driven by pilots from a control room on the vessel above, attached via a power cable.

The machine will then cut up the sea floor and suck the rocks through a pipe to deposit it in mounds behind, with the ore then sucked to the surface.


Toronto Ontario, December 11, 2014 – Nautilus Minerals Inc.  announce that the sum of US$113 million has been released from escrow to Nautilus. The joint venture between Nautilus and Eda Kopa Solwara ltd, the nominee of the Independent State of Papua New Guinea in respect of the Solwara 1 Project, has now been formed.
Eda Kopa is a subsidiary of  Petromin PNG ltd and has a 15ù interest in the venture.
The focus of the Project will now be to complete the build of the seafloor production equipment and vessel so that Nautilus can make seafloor mining a reality. The project will generate significant economic activity within PNG and the Province of New Ireland.

After some years of dispute between Nautilus and the government of Papua New Guinea, the first sea floor mining project in the world is now ready to go. Issues have already been mentioned several times in this blog. At stake is the future of ocean mining resources.


Rock is disaggregated on the seafloor by two large robotic machines that excavate material by a continuous cutting process, not unlike coal or other bulk continuous mining machines on land. The Auxiliary Cutter (« AC ») is a preparatory machine that deals with rough terrain and creates benches for the other machines to work. It will operate on tracks with spud assistance and has a boom mounted cutting head for flexibility. The second machine, the Bulk Cutter (« BC »), has higher cutting capacity but will be limited to working benches created by the AC. Both machines leave cut material on the seafloor for collection by the Collecting Machine (« CM »). The CM, also a large robotic vehicle, will collect the cut material (sand, gravel, silt) by drawing it in as seawater slurry with internal pumps and pushing it through a flexible pipe to the Riser and Lifting System.



Riser and Lifting System (RALS)

The RALS comprises a large pump and rigid riser pipe hanging from a vessel which delivers the slurry to the surface. The pump hangs from a solid vertical (riser) pipe suspended beneath the support vessel. The pipe is deployed to the seabed by a derrick and draw works system on board the vessel.

Production Support Vessel (PSV)

On deck of the production support vessel, the slurry is dewatered. The dewatered solid material is discharged to a transportation barge moored alongside. Used seawater is pumped back to the seafloor through the riser pipes and providing hydraulic power to operate the RALS pump. Discharge of the return water at the seafloor will avoid impacts to the warm surface seawaters, minimizing environmental impact of the operation.

The transportation barges haul the material 50 kms to a stockpile location in the Port of Rabaul.







bulk cutter on the factory floor

Nautilus minerals has shown his « bulk cutter » machine specially designed for exploitation of deep sea mining resources. After difficult negotiations with the PNG governement, the project should start next year.

On the front of the track-mounted “bulk cutter” is a formidable toothed drum designed to chew through heavily mineralised volcanic vents, 1600 metres below the surface of the Bismarck Sea off Papua New Guinea.

Attached will be a system to collect and pump a slurry of copper and gold-bearing ore to a mother ship, for transfer and onshore processing.


Toronto Ontario, April 24, 2014 - Nautilus Minerals Inc. (TSX:NUS, OTCQX: NUSMF) (the « Company » or « Nautilus ») announces that the Company and the Independent State of Papua New Guinea (the “State”) have today signed an agreement (the “Agreement”), enabling the Solwara 1 Project (the “Project”) to move forward toward production with the full support of the State.

Under the Agreement, the State shall take an initial 15% interest in the Project. The State has the option to take up to a further 15% interest within 12 months of the Agreement becoming unconditional. The State has paid Nautilus a non-refundable deposit for its initial 15% interest of US$7,000,000.

The Agreement is conditional upon the State, (through a subsidiary of Petromin PNG Holdings Limited (“Petromin”)), securing by 31 July 2014, the funding for the State’s 15% share of the capital required to complete the development phase of the Project up to first production, being US$113,000,000 (excluding the deposit). These funds will be placed in escrow until Nautilus satisfies the conditions for their release. The funds will be released to Nautilus, and an unincorporated joint venture between the parties for the ongoing operation of the Project shall be formed, if within 6 months of the funds being placed in escrow Nautilus secures the charter of a Production Support Vessel and secures for the State certain intellectual property rights. After first production, Petromin’s subsidiary will contribute funds in proportion to its interest.



SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, Dec. 12, 2013) – Eighteen special prospecting licences for deep-sea minerals in Fiji’s exclusive economic zone were given to Nautilus Minerals of Canada, Bluewater Minerals Australia and Korea Institute of Science and Technology.

This was according to the director of Mineral and Resources Department Malakai Finau.

Mr Finau stated that Fiji was still in the exploration phase.

« With the current exploration licences issued, hopefully it will lead to identification of economic mineral deposits, » he said.

« Also, it can lead to identifying much more important ways in which it can be mined safely and without adversely impacting the environment and other natural resources of the deep-sea environment. »

Mr Finau said from a mineral development perspective, deep-sea mining meant developing mineral resources sustainably for the benefit of the nation.

« Deep-sea mining can also provide possible sources of employment, economic activity and financial benefits generated from such activity.

« The other major benefit as compared to land-based open cast mining is its low footprint given that it occurs far away from land and at great depths. »


« It has been a challenging year » said Nautilus Mineral’s interim CEO, Mike Johnston, when releasing the company financial statements for year ended 31st of december 2012. « The decision made by the Board in relation to the Solwara 1 Project late last year was a difficult but appropriate one. »

Nautilus   had decided to preserve its cash position by terminating the construction of the equipment for its Seafloor Production System. That was the result of a dispute with PNG (Papua New Guinea) government, which had issued a Notice of Arbitration to the Company.

Mike Johnson added that  » Nautilus retains US$57.8 million in cash as at December 31, 2012. The Project remains 55% complete, with some aspects, such as the collecting machine, being up to 70% complete. »

Despite this setback, the Company remains committed to developing the world’s first commercial seafloor copper-gold project and launching the deep water seafloor resource production industry, whilst maintaining an environmentally and socially responsible approach.

Mr Johnston added, « Clearly our immediate and primary focus is to achieve an amicable resolution to the dispute with the State of Papua New Guinea. However, in parallel we continue to explore opportunities for fast tracking the development of our additional assets which include 19 identified prospects in Tonga, the most recent being the high grade discoveries in the north-east Lau Basin. »


Toronto, Ontario, November 13, 2012 — Nautilus Minerals Inc. (« Company » or « Nautilus ») announces it has decided to preserve its cash position by terminating the construction of the equipment for its Seafloor Production System.

Nautilus announced on June 1, 2012 that it was in dispute with the Independent State of Papua New Guinea (« State ») as to the parties’ obligations to complete the Agreement entered into in March 2011 (see links section for full press releases). A further announcement was made on June 20, 2012 confirming that the State had issued a Notice of Arbitration to the Company.

Nautilus considers that the State has a contractual obligation to pay an amount of approximately $23.5 million in respect of costs incurred in the development of the Solwara 1 Project up to January 2011, and to make pro-rata capital contributions in respect of subsequent Project development costs which, at the end of September 2012 totalled approximately $51.5 million (excluding interest). The State disputes that it is required to meet such obligations at this time. In order to continue the construction of the Seafloor Production System, Nautilus has been forced to carry the State’s share of Project development costs to date.

It has been Nautilus’ preference to resolve the dispute with the State by agreement and with that aim Nautilus has taken steps to meet with senior representatives of the State, including discussions with National Executive Council Ministers. Unfortunately, to date, an agreed commercial resolution with the State has not been achieved and Nautilus believes the avenues for achieving such a resolution within the timeframe that Nautilus could reasonably continue to carry the total development costs for the Project have now been exhausted. Accordingly, in order to preserve capital, Management and the Board of Directors of Nautilus have decided to terminate construction of its Seafloor Production System. All of the relevant supplier agreements contain provisions for termination without penalty. The Company has also been forced to reduce staff numbers with approximately 60 positions to be made redundant.

Nautilus’ CEO, Mike Johnston, commented: « While terminating the equipment build for the Seafloor Production System and reducing staff numbers to this extent was a difficult decision, it was appropriate. Nautilus has a highly prospective ground position, which includes 19 identified prospects in Tonga, including the recent high grade discoveries in the NE Lau Basin and a 410 million tonne Inferred Mineral Resource in the Central Pacific (see links section for full press releases). Despite this setback, the Company remains committed to maximizing shareholder value by achieving its objective of developing the world’s first commercial seafloor copper-gold project and launching the deep water seafloor resource production industry, whilst maintaining an environmentally and socially responsible approach. »

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